Morning briefing: 6 Dec 2012

Lebanon among world’s most corrupt countries

Economics and politics

A draft of changes to United Arab Emirates bankruptcy law aimed at simplifying the process and letting failing companies restructure is taking longer than expected and may not be ready until the end of 2013.

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Lebanon’s borrowing costs tumbled more than its Middle East peers last month, giving the nation a window to extend maturities on $1.53 billion of bonds even as a civil war in neighboring Syria crimps growth and tourism.

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Lebanon ranks as one of the 50 most corrupt nations worldwide, coming 128th out of 174 countries surveyed for perceptions of transparency, a report released Wednesday by an international watchdog showed.

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Egypt plunged into a new period of violence last night as riot police were deployed to stop street battles between supporters and opponents of the president, Mohammed Morsi. Three people have died in the clashes.

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Companies

Bank of America Merrill Lynch has hired Arshad Ghafur, previously with Nomura Holdings, as the country executive for its Middle East and North Africa unit, the US bank said in a statement on Thursday.

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A U.S. investigation into whether Barclays Plc paid bribes to win a banking license in Saudi Arabia has spread to other banks that operate in the region, according to a person familiar with the matter.

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